Leadership and Management in Organisations: Management Extra

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Providing leadership training through mentorship and coaching makes the experience personal to the employees who receive their guidance. It also helps them to feel like they truly matter, both as people and as workers. Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management and Director of the Leadership Center at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, has spent more than a decade studying world-class leaders to determine what sets them apart. According to Finkelstein in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review :.

Cognitive psychologists, teachers, and educational consultants have long recognized the value of such personalized instruction: It fosters not just competence or compliance but mastery of skills and independence of thought and action. This approach stands in stark contrast to the more traditional approach to employee management and development practices. While some managers may try to include occasional lessons into their schedules, few actually make it an integral part of their organizational roles.

Being able to engage in self-directed learning is an essential life skill for everyone. The abundance of web-based technologies that are available today — video, website, online course portals, games, and more — help to foster curiosity, agility, and innovation in continuous learning. They provide an informal learning environment for leadership training outside of a classroom setting.

In a Big Think article , Herring says:. They understand that their passion for learning is fundamentally connected to their ability to differentiate themselves and succeed in the workplace. They know where they need to get smarter to add even more value to their organizations and to advance their careers. They take responsibility for their own learning because they are passionate, inspired and curious. Another great leadership training idea is the using experiential learning exercises to provide employees with an opportunity to learn these insights firsthand.

Experiential training also makes it more memorable for participants. An added benefit of these leadership groups is that they provide a resource for your organization regarding mock strategy execution. Your leaders-in-training can provide additional business and learning value by performing a mock run-through of the strategy to identify and address any missing components before it officially launches.

Another great way to develop leaders is through the use of specialized training programs.

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Moreover, executives use different approaches in different parts of the organization, which compounds the turmoil that usually accompanies change. In recent years, many change management gurus have focused on soft issues, such as culture, leadership, and motivation. For instance, visionary leadership is often vital for transformation projects, but not always. The same can be said about communication with employees. These factors bear three distinct characteristics.


First, companies are able to measure them in direct or indirect ways. Second, companies can easily communicate their importance, both within and outside organizations. Third, and perhaps most important, businesses are capable of influencing those elements quickly. Some of the hard factors that affect a transformation initiative are the time necessary to complete it, the number of people required to execute it, and the financial results that intended actions are expected to achieve. Our research shows that change projects fail to get off the ground when companies neglect the hard factors.

In , we started with the contrarian hypothesis that organizations handle transformations in remarkably similar ways. We researched projects in a number of industries and countries to identify those common elements. Our initial company study revealed a consistent correlation between the outcomes success or failure of change programs and four hard factors: project duration, particularly the time between project reviews; performance integrity, or the capabilities of project teams; the commitment of both senior executives and the staff whom the change will affect the most; and the additional effort that employees must make to cope with the change.

We completed our study in , and in the 11 years since then, the Boston Consulting Group has used those four factors to predict the outcomes, and guide the execution, of more than 1, change management initiatives worldwide.

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Not only has the correlation held, but no other factors or combination of factors have predicted outcomes as well. If you think about it, the different ways in which organizations combine the four factors create a continuum—from projects that are set up to succeed to those that are set up to fail. At one extreme, a short project led by a skilled, motivated, and cohesive team, championed by top management and implemented in a department that is receptive to the change and has to put in very little additional effort, is bound to succeed. At the other extreme, a long, drawn-out project executed by an inexpert, unenthusiastic, and disjointed team, without any top-level sponsors and targeted at a function that dislikes the change and has to do a lot of extra work, will fail.

Businesses can easily identify change programs at either end of the spectrum, but most initiatives occupy the middle ground where the likelihood of success or failure is difficult to assess.

The Hard Side of Change Management

Executives must study the four DICE factors carefully to figure out if their change programs will fly—or die. The duration of time until the change program is completed if it has a short life span; if not short, the amount of time between reviews of milestones. The commitment to change that top management C1 and employees affected by the change C2 display. The effort over and above the usual work that the change initiative demands of employees. Companies make the mistake of worrying mostly about the time it will take to implement change programs.

They assume that the longer an initiative carries on, the more likely it is to fail—the early impetus will peter out, windows of opportunity will close, objectives will be forgotten, key supporters will leave or lose their enthusiasm, and problems will accumulate. Companies should formally review transformation projects at least bimonthly since, in our experience, the probability that change initiatives will run into trouble rises exponentially when the time between reviews exceeds eight weeks. Whether reviews should be scheduled even more frequently depends on how long executives feel the project can carry on without going off track.

Complex projects should be reviewed fortnightly; more familiar or straightforward initiatives can be assessed every six to eight weeks. Scheduling milestones and assessing their impact are the best way by which executives can review the execution of projects, identify gaps, and spot new risks. The most effective milestones are those that describe major actions or achievements rather than day-to-day activities. They must enable senior executives and project sponsors to confirm that the project has made progress since the last review took place.

Good milestones encompass a number of tasks that teams must complete. Moreover, it suggests that several activities were completed—identifying stakeholders, assessing their needs, and talking to them about the project. The team must provide a concise report of its progress, and members and sponsors must check if the team is on track to complete, or has finished all the tasks to deliver, the milestone.

They should also determine whether achieving the milestone has had the desired effect on the company; discuss the problems the team faced in reaching the milestone; and determine how that accomplishment will affect the next phase of the project. Sponsors and team members must have the power to address weaknesses. When necessary, they should alter processes, agree to push for more or different resources, or suggest a new direction. By performance integrity, we mean the extent to which companies can rely on teams of managers, supervisors, and staff to execute change projects successfully.

In a perfect world, every team would be flawless, but no business has enough great people to ensure that. Besides, senior executives are often reluctant to allow star performers to join change efforts because regular work can suffer.

Leading productive people: A manager's seven steps to success

In companies that have succeeded in implementing change programs, we find that employees go the extra mile to ensure their day-to-day work gets done. Since project teams handle a wide range of activities, resources, pressures, external stimuli, and unforeseen obstacles, they must be cohesive and well led. Smart executive sponsors, we find, are very inclusive when picking teams. They identify talent by soliciting names from key colleagues, including human resource managers; by circulating criteria they have drawn up; and by looking for top performers in all functions.

While they accept volunteers, they take care not to choose only supporters of the change initiative. Senior executives personally interview people so that they can construct the right portfolio of skills, knowledge, and social networks. They also decide if potential team members should commit all their time to the project; if not, they must ask them to allocate specific days or times of the day to the initiative.

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  • The Importance of Leadership in Managing Change.
  • Logic: The Question of Truth (Studies in Continental Thought)?
  • Agap? Agape (Penguin Classics).

Executives often make the mistake of assuming that because someone is a good, well-liked manager, he or she will also make a decent team leader. A CEO who successfully led two major transformation projects in the past ten years used these six criteria to quiz senior executives about the caliber of nominees for project teams.

The top management team rejected one in three candidates, on average, before finalizing the teams. Companies must boost the commitment of two different groups of people if they want change projects to take root: They must get visible backing from the most influential executives what we call C1 , who are not necessarily those with the top titles. And they must take into account the enthusiasm—or often, lack thereof—of the people who must deal with the new systems, processes, or ways of working C2.

Top-level commitment is vital to engendering commitment from those at the coal face. No amount of top-level support is too much. In , when we were working with the CEO of a consumer products company, he told us that he was doing much more than necessary to display his support for a nettlesome project. When we talked to line managers, they said that the CEO had extended very little backing for the project. They felt that if he wanted the project to succeed, he would have to support it more visibly!

A rule of thumb: When you feel that you are talking up a change initiative at least three times more than you need to, your managers will feel that you are backing the transformation. Sometimes, senior executives are reluctant to back initiatives. Senior executives found it gut-wrenching to talk about layoffs in an organization that had prided itself on being a place where good people could find lifetime employment. However, the CEO realized that he needed to tackle the thorny issues around the layoffs to get the project implemented on schedule.

He tapped a senior company veteran to organize a series of speeches and meetings in order to provide consistent explanations for the layoffs, the timing, the consequences for job security, and so on. He also appointed a well-respected general manager to lead the change program. Those actions reassured employees that the organization would tackle the layoffs in a professional and humane fashion.

Companies often underestimate the role that managers and staff play in transformation efforts. By communicating with them too late or inconsistently, senior executives end up alienating the people who are most affected by the changes. That usually happens when senior executives articulate subtly different versions of critical messages. For instance, in one company that applied the DICE framework, scores for a project showed a low degree of staff commitment.

Organizations also underestimate their ability to build staff support. A simple effort to reach out to employees can turn them into champions of new ideas. For example, in the s, a major American energy producer was unable to get the support of mid-level managers, supervisors, and workers for a productivity improvement program.

Leading and Managing for health and safety

Partly because of the straight talk, the initiative gained some momentum. This allowed a project team to demonstrate a series of quick wins, which gave the initiative a new lease on life. According to staffing tables, people in many businesses work plus-hour weeks. If, on top of existing responsibilities, line managers and staff have to deal with changes to their work or to the systems they use, they will resist. Project teams must calculate how much work employees will have to do beyond their existing responsibilities to change over to new processes.

Go beyond that, and the initiative will probably run into trouble. Resources will become overstretched and compromise either the change program or normal operations. Employee morale will fall, and conflict may arise between teams and line staff.